(Otterhoun, Dutch Spaniel, Frisian Water Dog)The Wetterhoun is a rugged, yet graceful breed. It has a curly coat which covers its whole body, except the head which is smooth coated. The coat comes in several colors: black and white, liver and white, black, or liver. The breed’s tail is distinctive because it curls up and forms a semi puff ball on their back. Even though their name means “Water Dog” in Dutch, their large, round feet are not webbed as they with many water dogs. Wetterhouns have large heads and dark attentive eyes. Their squarish bodies and broad chests are held up by thin, but sturdy, legs.
Wetterhouns are stubborn and independent like many intelligent breeds. They will not listen to owners who are weak or timid. They have a friendly personality with their family and are good with children. However, strangers should be cautious because the breed can be protective and have strong guarding instincts. Despite this potential problem, the breed is good around other dogs and animals. They have a mind of their own and are protective and alert. The breed learns quickly but does not always listen.
Hip dysplasia and epilepsy are the two main concerns for a Wetterhoun owner. One of the more minor conditions the breed can develop is hair loss. The Wetterhoun can live approximately 12 to 13 years of age.
About 400 years ago, Dutch breeders created Wetterhouns, probably from an older breed known simply as Old Water Dog. The dogs were originally used by fisherman to kill otters but when otters become less trouble for fisherman in the Netherlands Wetterhouns started to hunt other animals and to guard property. The breed is rare and is found almost exclusively in the Netherlands.
The Wetterhoun requires very little maintenance. They need exercise which they can get from playing in the yard or from taking long walks with its owner. It can also get exercise from hunting which is what it was bred for. Their grooming requirements are minimal. When necessary, Wetterhouns should be brushed. Their ears do need to be cleaned and checked for infections regularly, however.
This breed is perfect for country life. It needs room to run and play, preferably in a large area. Wetterhouns are loyal to their families but not good around strangers. They can live with children and any animals. Wetterhouns should not be handled by inexperienced owners because of their willful determination. It is important they get training at an early age for this same reason. They can live in any weather environment but not in an apartment or urban area because they will become neurotic and destructive.
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